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"Venom #10" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics

Venom 10 00

Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Ryan Stegman
Inked by JP Mayer
Colored by Frank Martin
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 16th, 2019

Review:

Eddie Brock has been put through the ringer lately, both as the anti-hero Venom and in his personal life. Right now he's battered and bloodied in San Francisco, sitting across from the brother he never knew he had. The two compare stories about their crappy father, which gives you an idea of how Eddie came to be the man he is today. That's not necessarily a good thing, but it's what he's working with.

The horror genre is pretty flexible. It can be used to tell stories of all types from comedy to drama to science-fiction and more. Venom #10 digs into the dramatic element and it hits harder than any jump scare or creepy slasher. In a book dealing with alien symbiotes and a literal dragon not that long ago, one of the most sobering and frightening tales comes from two guys sharing a meal at a diner.

Up until recently, I had seen Eddie Brock as a pretty one-sided character. His origins came from being a jaded and jealous photographer rival of Peter Parker's years ago. His hatred for Parker and Spider-Man was what fueled him as Venom. That is so far in the rear-view mirror at this point that it's hard to believe that was where he came from.

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Writer Donny Cates digs deeps into the origins of Eddie Brock, showing how he became that angry young man. More importantly, he explains how he sees the world and why he protects innocents as Venom, despite the symbiote's urge to eat people. This comes with a tragic story from Eddie's past that is so full of emotional turmoil. My heart jumped into my throat when I was reading this.

There's a clever use of misdirection in this story. You think it's going one way and then it takes a hard turn that changes everything. I let out an audible gasp when the truth was revealed. This is expert-level storytelling here.

Artist Ryan Stegman brings this traumatic moment to life in the most heart-wrenching way possible. The panels are spread out in a variety of sizes and shapes, like the page was a pane of glass that was just shattered. One of my favorite effects is when a panel takes the shape of a big sound effect. That is used perfectly in Venom #10 to show the severity of the situation. You can see the terror mixed with anger on the face of Eddie's father in this shot too.

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It's telling to see how this has affected Eddie well into his adult life. The contrast between that carefree kid and the hardened man is like night and day. This became such a defining moment for him and it festered over time.

I love the way inker JP Mayer brings a gritty quality to Stegman's pencils. It works especially well in the present-day scenes, as we see the not-so-glamorous life Eddie's living. It's a world of dirt and decay, like the page should have an almost sandpaper feel to it. Colorist Frank Martin gives everything an almost washed out look, first with the harsh florescent lights of the diner, then the faded hues of the flashbacks, and finally the dark and grimy alleyway.

While the bulk of Venom #10 deals with this painful trip down memory lane, we do get some nice twists and turns by the end, furthering the overall story. It makes you question the reality of what we've seen so far, as Eddie is not in a great head space right now. Venom does make an appearance and he's just as deadly as ever. Letterer Clayton Cowles brings his speech to life in sickly dark word balloons.

This series has given me a newfound appreciation for Venom. He was already a fan-favorite character, but this book has taken him to new heights, elevating him past a cool gimmick and awesome costume. There's a lot more going on with Eddie Brock and his story is only getting more and more interesting with each new chapter.

Grades:

Story: Fivestars Venom 10 Cover
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fivestars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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